Destination: Downtown Elkhart
A Community is as vibrant as its downtown
Elkhart's Downtown Main Street has made major improvements in recent years, including sustaining more active restaurants, retail, art galleries, and market rate housing available above downtown merchants. For such downtown development to be deemed successful, the market must respond by actively redeveloping the neighborhoods surrounding a downtown Main Street.
In recent years, the market has not yet wildly responded. Elkhart's Main Street still has several residential and commercial units available and in need of renovation. This means we need to do more. Simultaneously, we must address the dramatically changing housing trends, while we create a desirable urban place where people of all ages want to live and play.
A Vision For Elkhart: a destination for urban living
Private and public leaders have stepped up and have so far invested over $170 million dollars that is required to proactively shift a stagnant to declining population growth trend to that of new, incremental growth for Indiana’s lead manufacturer.
Elkhart hopes to capture a portion of 40,000 commuters and new residents who will move to Elkhart and fill new housing and work opportunities within a thriving destination that includes social and recreational engagement.
This project is called The River District. This district is expected to surge an urban vision with economic energy into expanding Elkhart's downtown to match the trends of other thriving urban environments -- and to make Main Street’s surrounding neighborhoods vibrant once again.
The River District implementation
Since April 2017, The River District Implementation Team (RDIT) has been commissioned by the City of Elkhart to design and execute the River District project. The River District area consists of a 105-acre peninsula (see below) bounded by the St. Joseph River, Elkhart River, Main Street and Prairie/Johnson Street. 50% of the district will be under construction by 2020 and public infrastructure elements will be complete in 2021.